Barry Smith reported on the thetimesnews.com website on September 1, 2008 that North Carolinians will soon be able to view via the internet whether a doctor they have seen or a doctor they plan on seeing has been making medical malpractice payments. The rules have been crafted by the North Carolina Medical Board and are waiting to be put into service. The rules require doctors along with physician assistants to make public all malpractice payments greater than $25,000 made after October 1, 2006. Legislative review of the rules is an option this coming year and seems a certainty.
"It's just a way of becoming transparent," said Jean Fisher Brinkley, a spokeswoman for the medical board. "We're beefing up the online profiles for physicians and physician assistants." The information that will be available online will also include any previous crime convictions and or if the doctor has been reprimanded by a medical board or federal agency.
A spokesperson from the North Carolina Medical Society Mike Edwards, stated that transparency is good but malpractice payments must be distinctly separated from poor quality care, “nuisance suits,” or when doctor’s settle cases for financial reasons. These may include a doctor deciding not to fight in court due to expensive legal costs. Additionally, Edwards argued that there are steps in place to insure doctor’s are not endangering their patients, through the oversight of the medical board.